Blog

04 January 2021

How to contact a manufacturer

Have you ever had an idea for a product or wanted to bring a sketch to life but had no idea where to start when contacting manufacturers?

Knowing where to look and who to contact can be daunting.

You don’t know if your idea will work without making a prototype or if the price of manufacturing will be viable for your business, but without that initial contact it will always remain the idea you never did try.

Everyone’s individual projects are so different that we can’t give exact price guides because they’d never be accurate and many manufacturers are the same. For some their job may cost less with less detail and in cases of rush orders it may mean we need to put other jobs on hold which would incur a rush fee.

Giving your manufacturer as much detail as you possibly can from the first enquiry email will likely mean you have a faster response because they have everything they need to work out how they can best help you.

Often there will be an FAQs section or a ‘How to order’ page, read up on what your manufacturer needs to know and look to provide it in a succinct list that conveys your requirements efficiently.

Our tips

We’ve had a think about the types of emails we’ve received in seven years of manufacturing and compiled a list of the things that we LOVE to see in emails.

  1. Deadlines – is your job time specific? Let your manufacturer know your deadline date. Do you need it to arrive for installation by a certain date? Do you need to work on it before a launch? A manufacturer will know if they can fit your order into their current production schedule straight away and they can either inform you immediately if it’s not possible so you can look elsewhere or get a quote over to you to so you can work out between yourselves if it’s viable in the best possible time frame.
  2. Artwork files – are they ready? Do you have a sketch? Are there dimensions available? Send any and all file information over if you require a reply with a quotation.
  3. Material – Do you have specific criteria for the material that your product must be made from? Or are you looking for guidance from the manufacturer? If you need guidance, give as much information as possible about what you hope the product/item will look like and how it needs to perform, they will know their materials best.
  4. Quantity – This will often inform the final price. Some manufacturers work to sliding scales for specific products, other manufacturers that have a more bespoke offering (like us) may not price things in the same way.
  5. Response time – Often manufacturers can have quite seasonal work and their response time may fluctuate. For us, it’s not uncommon to have some days where responses will be within the hour, other days they’ll be sent the next day. Not all manufacturers have members of staff that are able to sit at a computer all day, usually all staff are hands on, so you may not have an instant reply. If you’ve not heard from them within a couple of days I’d say it’s safe to just send a polite email to check they received it, sometimes those email gremlins are out to get us!

I hope this is helpful, if any of our fellow manufacturers or makers want to share the article with anyone that might find this helpful please do!

We send LOTS of quotes to clients that never get off the ground because it may have been an initial idea or the idea that client was pitching to has gone in a different direction. You also need to find the right manufacturer for your job and sometimes it just isn’t us!

We get it! Our quotes take time to put together, we carefully work out the costs of all the specifications to the job and understand that until you have that information you can’t make an informed decision about the projects viability. Don’t let it stop you chasing an idea by not knowing how to speak to your manufacturer.

Thanks for reading,

Laura & Team.

 

Here’s a link we shared in 2019 to Make it British they shared an article we found interesting about why manufacturers might not get back to your emails and more tips, read here.